Porsche Cayenne (2004-2009) review
The Cayenne is fast and nimble, but vastly expensive.
Driving The mighty Porsche boasts superb handling for an off-roader. Despite its size and weight, the Cayenne corners superbly, generating amazing levels of grip and tackling twisty roads at hot hatch speeds. This is only enhanced with the optional Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and Porsche Active Suspension Management systems; they give the steering even more feedback and make the SUV yet more nimble, while also improving a ride quality that, in pre-facelift-guise, was jarring. Direct-injection petrol engines are very fast, particularly the astonishing V8 twin-turbo, which dashes to 60mph in 5 seconds, and can hit 170mph.
Marketplace It’s the car the green lobby love to hate – but that didn’t stop the second-generation Cayenne arriving in the UK. Cosmetic tweaks to the headlights and front airdams still made it far from handsome; the key change was to the 3.6-litre V6 and 4.8-litre turbo and non-turbo petrol engines, which all gained direct fuel injection to boost efficiency by up to 15 per cent. The line-up of V6, S and Turbo variants was joined in 2007 by a sub-Turbo GTS model, set apart by larger front air intakes, fatter wheelarches, 21-inch wheels and a lower ride height. Key rivals include the Range Rover Sport, BMW X6, Mercedes M 63 AMG and high-performance versions of the Audi Q7.
Owning Interior quality received a welcome boost when the Cayenne was facelifted. The layout is user-friendly, but it’s not that large or versatile, despite a decent 540-litre boot that extends to 1,770 litres with the seats folded. A vast array of options is available, including some superb figure-hugging seats, which are fitted as standard to the sporty GTS. However, despite the claimed efficiency improvements, it’s unlikely the climate change lobby is going to embrace the Cayenne. Even the entry-level V6 only returns 21.9mpg, and puts out 310g/km of CO2. The Turbo achieves 19mpg and emits 358g/km of CO2. In reality, economy can easily drop into single figures. The Cayenne also isn’t cheap to buy: the V6’s entry price looks tempting, but essential options soon push it up, while the Turbo costs £75,000! Retained values, while good, also don’t quite hit Porsche’s usual lofty standards. Servicing and maintenance costs are high as well.